What would you do with 6k?

$6,000 dollars can buy you a lot.  My car, for example, was $4500 when I bought it 5 years ago.  It could pay almost a year of my rent or about a third of tuition and fees for a year of med school.  $6,000 is enough to buy 6 “cheeses of the world” packages on Heifer International (meaning it pays for 6 heifers, 6 water buffalo, 6 goats and 6 sheep all of which produce…wait for it…cheese)  How on earth, could someone pay that much for a dog’s hip?  Especially someone who lives on loans?

Trust me, I struggled with the decision to do surgery.  Even though it was clear that Piper was uncomfortable and unable to function at a normal 3 year old dog level, it was hard.  Before medical school, I had gone on a service trip to Jamaica and had seen real need in the orphanages there.  The memory of seeing how few toys and books there were for the 20 plus kids that lived there has stayed with me.  How on earth could I spend that amount of money on an animal and not another human being?

I still don’t know a satisfactory answer for that question.  I decided to do the surgery because I couldn’t stand seeing an animal I love in discomfort every day.  It’s not totally satisfying, but I know I put my money where my mouth is and took care of something/someone I love.  And I try and remind myself that often times there isn’t a right answer to what is the most noble or “right” thing to do- that it’s a personal choice and as long as you can be at peace with your decision then it’s the right one for you.

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And Piper goes to the vet AGAIN…

Anyone who knows me knows that I value my dog Piper over and above any of my possessions.  She’s just awesome- she is so excited to see me whenever I come home, she’s great company, before this whole thing she used to motivate me to get outside, and she reminds me to live more in the present- that’s what she does all the time.

Yet another time Piper got herself in some medical trouble. She rolled in something she was clearly allergic to. This time we just treated her at home with Benadryl for a couple days.


And as I love her and value her so much, I’m willing to spend crazy amounts of money on her.  I am willing to be super cheap when it comes to stuff for myself, but not for her.  And anyone who doesn’t have a dog of their own doesn’t get it.  It’s cool- I don’t mind.  I thought people who bought their dogs titanium hips were crazy at one point too.

Right around the time of this picture I was hooked…and the rest is history

Yes, that’s right folks.  In addition to being treated for hypothyroidism, Piper has congenital hip dysplasia, a condition where her hip sockets didn’t form right and as a result she developed osteoarthritis really early in life.  She’s always “bunny hopped” when she ran, which is a sign of CHD, but this past January, Piper stopped putting weight on her back left leg.  She’d have a few days where she’d be fine and then she’d have trouble climbing the stairs or would occasionally hold her back left foot in the air.

Piper running free on the beach before all the exercise restriction

Not good for a 3 year old dog.  I knew it was going to maybe require surgery, so I called my wonderful vet at Anchor Animal Hospital to ask for recommendations for a surgeon.  We ended up choosing Tufts Vet in Grafton, MA because it’s a great hospital and it’s close to Worcester.  At the visit they gave us 3 choices:

1. Medically manage with NSAIDs, swimming and low activity.  Not a great option, as we had tried restricting activity, doing swimming AND two types of NSAIDs.

2. Femoral head osteotomy, a surgery where they lop off the head of the femur (upper leg bone) so that there isn’t a hip joint anymore and the top of the femur sits in the muscles instead of in a joint.  Not a great option as it doesn’t work well on big dogs and dogs don’t recover full function.

3. Total hip replacement.  BINGO!  With this procedure, they would lop off the femoral head and the part of the pelvis to replace them both with a metal implant.  The new hip joint has a VERY high success rate and most dogs recover 100% functionality.  Sounds great?

6 k later…the jury is still out.  Piper had surgery 1 week ago and right now is on strict cage rest.  She’s putting a little weight on the leg, which is normal at this point but time will tell how well she’ll respond to the replacement.  Stay tuned.

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Seattle series: Pike’s Market

I had started my blogging of Seattle while I was there with essentially one post about what we did the first few days.  Here are some more details about our time there.

Anyone who goes to Seattle MUST go to Pike Place Market.  Originally started as a fish market, they’re still famous for their seafood but there is so much more to see (and buy).  The floral vendors were probably my favorite, but there were hand made leather bags and belts, jewelry, cosmetics, art, and many more things for sale there.  Scattered throughout the market are a bunch of performers- some really good, some comical.  There are great restaurants around. too.  Check it out:

A look down into the opening of the marketplace space.  From pikeplacemarket.org

Some of the gorgeous arrangements they have that are so cheap! When I was there, posies were in season and they were selling them for around $1 a bloom, or cheaper if you bought a dozen.

The famous fish toss done regularly by the staff at the fish counters. Picture from riceowls.com as it was too good to use my own.

Cheap, delicious produce. Photo from sixthavenueinn.com

The infamous Johnny Hahn- who sits and plays the piano all day at the Market. He’s such a familiar face that a lot of the artists renditions of Pike Place Market have him in it!

Just across from the Market is the original Starbucks…a total tourist trap. It’s the only store where you can buy Starbucks gear with the original logo and people come in droves to buy mugs and get their Seattle coffee fix.  And there are ALWAYS performers outside.  It’s got to be prime real estate.

Le Panier is a famous French bakery across from the original market. I had a croissant and Dan got pain au chocolat and both were perfectly baked.

And last but not least, to me the best part of Pike Place Market is when you walk just past it there’s an open park space where you can see THIS:

MT RAINIER!!! Often Most days Seattle has a bit of cloud cover, but on days when they clear away and you can see this peak it’s absolutely stunning.

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An end to the hiatus

After a wonderful month on the west coast, I’m back east and ready to get back to blogging.  The month in Seattle was incredible- and I have a number of pictures/posts I’ll be sharing throughout the summer.  For now, here are some things I like right now:

Food, Inc.

It all started with the movie Food, Inc which is a great (and scary) look at the food we eat and how it gets to our plates.  I highly recommend it, and it’s now available on streaming at Netflix.com.  Be aware, it will make you question where you’re getting your food from.  Not that that is a bad thing.

And from there, I moved on to the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen.  I think this book is absolutely fascinating and recommend it to anyone and everyone.  It’s an incredibly interesting look at the food industry, how we buy food and choose what we eat, and other options we have for getting our food.  The book is great because it’s written by viewing four meals in which the food was gathered in very different ways.  My favorite part of the book is definitely the discussion of Polyface Farm, a very different type of farm.

And lastly, because of Food, Inc and Omnivore’s Dilemma, Dan and I decided to switch the way we buy meat.  We joined a meat CSA at Lilac Hedge Farm, a local place run by two young farmers that do pasture centered beef, lamb, pork and chicken.  More on that another time.


Have a great week!

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Free country playlist

Couldn’t help but post this…People is giving away downloads for their summer country playlist.  https://styleentertainment.timeinc.net/people/countryplaylist/


Go, click, and your iTunes will fill with 9 new songs 🙂

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Silence from Seattle

Hello from the West Coast!  I’ve been out here for just over one week for my first dermatology rotation and I LOVE both the city and dermatology.  Seriously, both are wonderful.  Let me start at the beginning though.

We flew into Seattle last Wednesday, which happened to be the same day that a tragedy unfolded in the city.  A “mentally unstable” man opened fire in a small cafe about a mile from my apartment and then shot and killed another woman to take her car.  He later killed himself on a nearby street.  All in all 6 dead.  Let’s just say it was a heavy day to enter the city of Seattle.  To cheer up this post slightly, I’m always amazed that in most stories of shootings or mass casualties, there’s always someone who shines by doing something good for others.  Read about a man in the cafe who threw stools at the gunman, enabling a few others to get away.

Anyway, that was heavy to say the least.  However, life does go on and after that first jarring day, I really started liking the city.  It’s amazing because it seems like every direction you look in, you can see ocean.  And more amazingly, behind those bays and harbors are massive mountain ranges still covered in snow.  It’s by far one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been in.  Sadly, it’s been cloudy much of the time we’ve been here so I haven’t gotten any great pictures of the view.  Here are some from other people:

The Space Needle and surrounding view. From seattlecenter.org

One day, when Dan and I were walking around downtown, all of a sudden the clouds seem to part and both of us were stunned to see Rainier in the background.  It’s absolutely flooring to suddenly see this peak.

from fabandfru.com

We’ve done some great tourist-y things, such as going to the EMP museum, which has amazing music and culture exhibits- there’s an extensive Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix collection (both from Seattle) and a great (nerdy) exhibit explaining how guitars have developed over the past several hundred years.  I think that was my favorite- it had about 50 guitars, their history, and then clips of what they sounded like when they were played.  They also had some amazing props from Avatar and it was neat to learn about the technology.  

We went to the science museum…which was interesting, but no where near as good as the Museum of Science in Boston.  This museum looked like it was built for field trips and Dan and I must have been the oldest people there who weren’t chaperones on a school trip.  One thing that was neat?  They had a butterfly room where this butterfly landed on me:

From what I can find online, this is a Blue Morpho butterfly. I was wearing a shirt roughly the same color and this thing LOVED me. It crawled on my neck, back and hair for a good 10 seconds. I do NOT like things crawling on me so it took all my strength not to brush it off. And it tickled!

We also went to the Flight Museum.  Boeing was started out here in Seattle and the museum is based out of their first factory (“The Red Barn”).  It was actually a great museum- I went just to humor Dan, but I really enjoyed it.  They had a room full of WWI and WWII planes with their history and lots of letters written by soldiers and other props.  I loved it for the history.  Then they had lots of fancy planes that Dan seemed to know all about but which didn’t impress me much at all.  I did LOVE being able to go on the Air Force One used by Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ.  Very cool.

This Air Force One was the plane that LBJ flew to Dallas on after JFK was shot. He was sworn in on the plane ride back- but they didn’t take this plane on that trip.


I’d love to keep going but something tells me I may have lost those of you who actually read this past because it’s so long.  I’ll continue our adventures another day.

Happy Thursday!

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Step 2 here we come

Almost time to take the test!

In the grand scheme of the studying and preparation for Step 2, I’m in my final moments of prep and am pretty much ready to take it.  Only 3 more days!  Till then, I’ll hit the books.


Have a great weekend- it’s beautiful out here!

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